Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less

I am getting sick and tired of all the snivelling liberals in the media and around the country who complain about Big Oil's windfall profits. Will someone please tell me when success became a crime, and when enormous success became downright un-American?
All companies, including oil companies, are in the business to make money. In a free market, this is done by creating a product or service that the public wants and then selling it for the most money the market will bear while keeping your costs down. In this regard, the oil companies have been a fabulous success. Their profit margin is only 4% after they pay taxes and all of the associated costs of exploring, drilling, transporting, refining, distributing, and marketing their product, and yet they still make billions and billions of dollars.
The fact of the matter is that our economy depends on oil to function. It isn't "nice" that we have oil - it is essential. Because every other industry depends on the availability of petroleoum and petroleum products, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that oil companies are going to make a boatload of money, even with a measely 4% profit margin.
If anything, you have to admire the oil companies for their restraint in this market. Because the world's economy runs on oil, they can pretty much ask whatever price they want for their product, and we will pay it. We have to have it and will pretty much pay whatever price we have to to get it. The fact that they have limited their take to 4% speaks volumes about their generosity. They could up that margin at any point, and there is really not a whole lot that could be done about it.
What I find downright criminal in regards to our current fuel crisis is that the government is involved in the free market anyway, and the absolutley asinine solutions that some of our elected oficials propose. Among the more ridiculous proposals are the so-called windfall profit taxes. The assumption is that, by taking away more of the oil companies' profits, the price of gas will come down. Do they not understand who will ultimately pay those taxes? The average American these politicians claim to care about and look out4 for.
Also, don't let the government fool you about who is really making bank in the fuel industry. On average for every dollar spent on fuel, the government gets $0.15 as compared to the "evil" oil companies' $0.04. Who is getting the windfall here?
If our elected officials really cared about the cost of fuel, here are several easy steps for them to take:
1) Lift the restrictions on drilling off our coasts and within our borders. (Yes - this includes ANWR)
2) Allow new refineries to be built in the U.S.
3) Ease back on the amount of taxes that are charged for fuel purchases
4) Create an incentive for the development of alternative fuels that really work
5) Stop insisting on ethanol - it doesn't reduce emissions and not only increases our fuel price, it increases our food price
6) Allow more nuclear facilities to be built in the U.S.
If you would like to help send a message about petroleum policy to congress and the president, sign the Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less petition at http://www.americansolutions.com/

Monday, June 23, 2008

Campaign Finance Reform We Can Live With

McCain-Feingold is one of the greatest losses of freedom we have experienced in recent history. All in the name of taking "Big Money" out of politics. I am sick and tired of politicians stealing our freedoms in the name of "reform" or "anti-corruption". They always paint their hair-brained schemes as a brilliant solution to our problems, camoflauging the true effects of their so-called reforms. So, in the name of true reform, I propose the following campaign finance laws that will restore our freedoms and put the lie to the stupid solutions that self-serving politicians have foisted on us for years.

Only citizens of the United States can contribute to a political campaign.
If you can vote in an election, you can contribute to a campaign. If you can't vote - you can't contribute. This means that corporations cannot donate to a campaign, because they can't vote, and neither can political action committees or lobbying groups.

Citizens can only contribute to a candidate that they can actually vote for
I can contribute to the candidates running to become MY congressman, but not to the candidates running to become YOUR congressman.

Citizens can contribute as much as they want
It's my money and I can spend it how I want to.

No candidates for ANY office can use public funds to finance their campaign
We have more important things to do with our funds - like pay off the national debt.

Candidates have to disclose who gave donations in excess of $1,000
That way the citizens can monitor if their elected officials are pandering to any one donor.

Corporations can purchase air time and print space to run issue campaigns, but cannot mention any candidate by name or issue endorsements to any candidate
They can clarify their issues to educate the public, and then the public can see which candidate best matches those issues. Again, corporations can advertise and advocate for their positions, but since they are not citizens and can't vote - they can't campaign.

This list of rules may seem a little simplistic, but maybe simplicity is something we could use in this country. The complicated schemes of slick politicians sure don't seem to produce the desired result.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What So Proudly We Hailed...

Throughout my life I have been consistently intrigued by the power of symbols and symbolic communication. Whether it is with carefully crafted words, brilliant artwork, or the standard of a nation, symbols can quickly and succinctly communicate a multitude of messages to us. Of all the symbols that are in the world around us, few elicit the emotional responses that a flag does. The flag communicates so much with such elegant simplicity. It represents the history of a nation, its values, its hopes for the future, and the highest ideals that move it toward its ultimate destiny in the world. The flag brings back memories of victories won, of accomplishments achieved, and of challenges overcome. It reminds us of the foundations upon which we are built, and then impels us onward to new achievements in the ongoing chapters of our nation's history. Our flag graces the tops of our most important government buildings and monuments, and greets us each morning in classrooms around the country. When we come home from abroad, the flag waves its welcome to us from the port of entry. The flag leads our young men in battle, reminding them of home and the loved ones they are defending. In honored glory it also accompanies our dead, reverently covering them in its folds as they make their final journey home. In moments of celebration, the flag is a bouyant and cheerful symbol of national pride and joy as it is waved from the hands of children and from the homes of each proud citizen. In moments of mourning, nothing speaks so eloquently of national sorrow as a flag at half mast.
The flag of the United States of America was created 231 years ago on June 14, 1777. Since that day it has told the story of our nation, and how we have gone from 13 rebellious colonies to 50 united states.
Happy Birthday Old Glory!

The Price of Freedom

Last Monday was Memorial Day, and while I would love to wax eloquent about the meaning of the day and the price paid for our freedoms, the picture above says far more than I ever could. Marine Staff Sergeant Marcus "Marc" Golczynski was killed on March 27, 2007 during his second tour of duty in Iraq - a tour he volunteered for. This picture shows 8 year old Christian, receiving the flag that covered his daddy's casket from Lt. Col Ric Thompson at the conclusion of Marc's funeral services on April 4, 2007.
As we relished the "freedom" of a three-day weekend, I hope that we all remembered the real meaning of freedom and the price paid for us to have that freedom.
God bless our Veterans and their families!